Presented by Smartsheet

Spreadsheets are popular for more than just complex formulas and intricate pivot tables — millions of information workers are creating and working them hard every day to organize projects and processes on the job.

The problem is that traditional spreadsheets were never designed to work in a collaborative environment. And when a project scales, the challenge becomes having control of and visibility into the work being done. Project tracking becomes a complex endeavor, collaboration becomes far more ponderous than it should be, and opportunities for inspiration and innovation are lost in the mix.

Adding tools to the mix

When the traditional spreadsheet fails, workers start looking for ways to manage work through switching between multiple collaboration apps, but that creates a significant productivity tax. Even the brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time — and that’s according to the American Psychological Association.

The high-tech solution (because there’s always a high-tech solution): move from legacy work management tools, like spreadsheets, to next-generation technologies that support ways for teams to work together in a connected, collaborative, transparent way.

The next-generation tech solution

It’s a solution that’s spawned a whole new technology market category: enterprise collaborative work management, or CWM. Forrester defines these solutions as tools that enable collaborative conversations, transparency, and work allocation at the team level.

That applies to everything from projects or repeatable business processes like customer service or onboarding new employee.

CWM platforms provide a centralized location to work collectively, share digital content deliverables, and automate business processes. And by consolidating a person’s tasks, to-dos, communications, and content analysis into a single workspace, user productivity gains are even larger.

In their recent inaugural CWM report, Forrester positioned Smartsheet, a SaaS platform for managing and automating collaborative work, as a leader in enterprise CWM. Smartsheet reports over 70,000 customers across all industries, including Netflix, NBC Universal, Sony Music, Hilton and Weyerhaeuser.

MOD Pizza ditches spreadsheet sprawl

Smartsheet recently released a case study centering on a rapidly growing fast casual pizza chain, MOD pizza.

MOD had been using traditional spreadsheets to manage all their construction and launch projects, but found that with their tremendous growth, they needed something more fully capable of tracking ongoing projects while quickly initiating new ones.

“Opening up a couple of stores is no big deal, and we can manage that,” says Elaina Mattingly, a BI Developer at MOD Pizza. “But then suddenly, when we opened a hundred stores last year, you’re managing a hundred separate spreadsheets and trying to manage all these different dates. Inevitably you’re going to miss one, and then the project may be delayed. It’s just costly in resources.”

Solving customer pain points

Mod Pizza chose Smartsheet as a solution because it offered the familiarity and flexibility of a spreadsheet, but designed to manage projects at scale.

Dan Gockel, Chief of Stuff at MOD Pizza, says that their store development process was getting bloated, and collaboration, done via email, was inefficient, and relied on user infallibility to keep everyone on the same page — never a good bet.

Smartsheet’s platform lets users track conversations at a row, sheet, or workspace level and attach relevant files as needed. Project managers and business leaders gain an easy overview of their team’s workload with resource management capabilities, and are automatically alerted when resources are overallocated. Individual projects can be launched from Smartsheet Control Center, so that processes can be replicated over and over again, but still offers users the flexibility to individualize each on the fly.

“It’s an easy sell when you talk about ROI and what Smartsheet can provide from a numbers perspective,” Gockel says.

Managing work at scale across industries

Smartsheet is hardly just about supporting efficient store launches. The company reports that their clients are also successfully launching rockets, building skyscrapers, and planning world-class events, as they enjoy the benefits of a more collaborative work management experience that enables people, teams, and business leaders to more effectively manage and automate the work they do, day in and day out.

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